DeKalb County’s flood risk information has been revised and updated flood hazard maps are being made available to the public to show whether homes and property are more at risk for potential flood damage or safer from it.

Dozens of Dunwoody residents attended a Dec. 7 open house at Kingswood United Methodist Church to review the updated maps, inputting their addresses into available computers to check on their flood risks.

A Dunwoody flood mpa shows parcels that are included in flood hazard areas. Yellow areas are where flood hazards have decreased; orange areas have increased flood hazards; red areas show newly added flood hazard parcels; and green areas show parcels that have been removed from flood hazard maps. This is a draft map with the final map scheduled to be completed in April 2019. (Special)

Shelley Noble, who lives in Georgetown, said her property was already included in a flood-hazard area. The updated maps, however, show more of her property is now at higher risk of flooding.

“It’s not a big deal because I already knew I was in flood-risk area,” she said, “but it does make me a little more concerned if I have the right [insurance] coverage.”

In Dunwoody, the draft maps completed by engineers for DeKalb County and the state Department of Natural Resources show that 28 parcels have been added to flood-hazard areas on the maps while 38 parcels have been removed.

A total of 383 parcels, in middle and south Dunwoody, are included in flood zones. The parcels tend to run along and within the Upper Chattahoochee watershed, which local, state and federal officials are mapping as part of the new flood hazard maps, said Jeff Mueller with the city of Dunwoody.

Insurance specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were on hand to talk with homeowners about insurance coverage requirements.

Laney Keating of FEMA explained the flood hazard maps determine flood insurance premiums.

“In Dunwoody, more areas have been removed due to better data,” she said, “and some properties that were in moderate-to-low flood hazard areas have been moved to special flood zones.”

“Our message is, whether you live in a low or moderate or special flood zone, there is some risk,” she said. “It’s important to see what risk there is and the only protection from a flood is flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods.”

A map presented at the Dec. 7 open house showed flood parcel updates. (Dyana Bagby)

Georgia DNR encourages homeowners, even those outside high-risk areas, to buy flood insurance because more than 35 percent of Georgia flood insurance claims come from the less risk-prone flood zones.

Also, DNR officials say that homeowners who are being added to higher risk zones and who buy flood insurance before the new maps go into effect may be able to save money on premiums.

The final maps take effect in April 2019, according to Haydn Blaize, who manages the Floodplain Unit at DNR. This allows time for people to review the maps. A 90-day appeal period will be held in the spring and summer of 2018.

Maps are revised about every 10 years. With better topography and computer models that predict flooding, more accurate information is available to use in creating the new maps, he said.

Residents can view the new preliminary maps online at GeorgiaDFIRM.com. For Dunwoody questions, call Rich Edinger at 678-382-6801 or rich.edinger@dunwoodyga.gov.

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